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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Mar 5, 2011 8:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

There is an excellent and fresh new book out by Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.
I accidentally happened upon his presentation before the Ukrainian Institute of America.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Bloodla

I was struck by the passion of the people in the audience. It was if a molten steel bar went through their hearts and it was never repaired, as now most are at the end of their life. The Ukrainian people, between Stalin's famine and Hitlers minions, suffered millions of deaths from '32 to '44. The babushka's are still crying.

John Lukcas', Hitler of History ('98) was the first serious attempt I read to reintegrate Hitler back into the flow of history, and not keep him in his own category. Bloodlands is a continuation of that process, and it is done quite well. I will leave you with a updated version of Ring Around the Rosey and a hearty rec. of Bloodlands.

This was a Ukrainian children's song from the early 1930's

Father Stalin look at this
Collective farming is just a bliss
The hut's in ruins, the barn's all sagged
All the horses broken nags
And on the hut a hammer and sickle
And in the hut death and famine
No cows left, no pigs at all
Just your picture on the wall
Daddy and mommy are in the kolkhoz
The poor child cries as alone he goes
There's no bread, there's no fat
The Party's ended all of that
Seek not the gentle, nor the mild
A father's eaten his own child
The Party man he beats and stamps
And sends us to Siberian camps.

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Mar 5, 2011 9:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

This really touched me deep inside. I am a Ukrainian-born American citizen. I have heard the stories of WW2 from my grandparents - nightmares, horrible things that children should not have to live through. I feel so incredibly blessed to have avoided this suffering yet also absurdly ignorant of this aspect of life. And I think the shit I go through these days is bad... maybe I should read some of this stuff and appreciate that I am in a better place...

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Mar 6, 2011 11:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

It's not easy to read about WW2. The level of barbarity on a grand scale hasn't been seen in history since Genghis Khan. There was a Ukrainian saying that Stalin shot the first brother, then Hitler shot the other.
With a degree of certainty, we know that 3 million people were staved to death, on purpose and for ideological reasons, in the Soviet Ukraine in '32-'33. Stalin took seed corn if you could not meet impossible quotas. All property now belonged the state. The cow, the pig and the horse. And consequently they were all taken by roving bands of Party Committees unfettered by law.
One last mention is also the deliberate starvation of the Soviet POW's from the massive surrender's during the summer and fall of '41. Almost all 3 million. The Nazi's encircled open ground for a 'prison camp' and let few if any supplies in. By the spring of '42 there was no need for the Nazi's to protect corpses.
Food as a weapon.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 5, 2011 8:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Thx; ironically, they are one of the few people that were subjugated by the Poles (rarely was the shoe on the other foot, eh?), and perhaps, just maybe, it would've worked out a bit better with them at the helm, but self determination can lead down unforseen paths...

What has struck me is that so many Eastern European peoples really were stuck between a rock and hard place; a significant number, esp in the Baltic states, retreated west with the Germans rather than stick around for a second dose of Stalinism.

What a tough choice.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Mar 7, 2011 2:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

As one who grew up subjugated by a Pole (eg my mom), let me tell you, those Poles can be tough cookies. Or rather, tough pierogi. I'm imaging a regime where failing to make a bed was a capital offense. (Sorry, not meaning to make light of the Ukranian situation.) Seriously, my grandmother, who was a child in Poland in WWI, had stories of atrocities by both sides. I'm sure it was a dilemma: who do you refugee towards?!?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2011 5:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Yes, we Irish and Poles naturally gravitate toward one another since we both have long histories regarding our struggles with/toward national identity, so I've heard many a story (either regarding drinking, mothers or girlfriends; I will say "we" have a better folk music and whiskey making background that you all).

As to your quasi-question, I would say they have a much longer history with Russia; it's a amazing how much happened with them over the years. Of course, Germanic Peoples rather than Germany, per se, but they got on (in essence, E Prussia derived from positive relations with Poles) well at times...Still, tough one.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Mar 7, 2011 5:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Hey, as it happens I've got a dad, too. Mostly Irish on that side. So we get the vodka AND the whiskey, the polka AND the Irish tunes, the ... cabbage and potatoes, and the cabbage and potatoes ... See, you thought you had me beat there! Didn't expect a dad, did you?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2011 6:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Why yes, er, I mean "no"; as in, usually ONE Polish mother is enough! (I know you'll take that the right way). And of course, one Irish father is always enough, and he's usually off drinkin anyhooo, and the ma's in charge, so what the heck? It's the big hearted ma's of both places that largely hold the families together...and biggest connection of all??? Between poles/micks?

Drum roll, please:

Catholic Guilt.

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Mar 7, 2011 12:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Having all four grandparents escape Poland at the onset of WW1, and then marrying into an Irish family, I can relate to oh, so much of what you, AR and micah all relate here. Fortunately, I still enjoy cabbage and potatoes though I never did care for Vodka . . . now, Bushmill's, Middleton and even the old Tullamore Dew are all a different story.

. . . Oh, and that damn, incessant Catholic Guilt . . .

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 7, 2011 1:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

If McGlone shows up, the family reunion, Forum-style, will be well on its way!

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Mar 7, 2011 2:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Say, WT, how's your health these days? Hope you're on the 'up and up'.

Good luck with that Red Flag Warning . . . Red Flag Warnings vs. Blizzards, hmmmmm . . . I think I'd take the blizzards, myself.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 8, 2011 5:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Thx, DP; getting around okay, but some other personal family crap has been getting in the way of enjoying our transition to springtime hereabouts. You know how you might convey the essence of your "situation" to someone and they say, "well, lets look on the brightside, for example, you..." or some such? I get about half way thru my little tale of woe and they're looking for any escape route possible. Not that the opportunity presents itself that often, nor do I find much pt in rehashing it; suffice it to say, it's nice once in a while when folks ask...like you.

Have a great day--I'm hanging in!

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Mar 7, 2011 8:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

AR, you have a Dad?

Like you two, I have a Irish father and a Polish mum. (Lord, Polish folks can work! I mean that as a high compliment)
The rabble of Europe. If it's not Cromwell, it's the Cossacks. So the music, drinking and the Catholic deal was in.
They were all so excited and supportive when I left the Church (no offense meant to our Catholic friends, I mean I have a brother and a Mom and ...).

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Mar 8, 2011 12:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

That's funny. Poles and Irish and Polish-Irish all over this place. You'll have to hold your next get-together in a kielbasi place or an Irish pub. Or both.

However, I did escape the Catholic guilt. That side of the family is ... (clog dancing roll, please) ... hillbilly Irish. From the Appalachians, where the Irish are (gasp) Protestant and the whiskey would be in a still out back rather than a pub. Not that I grew up in the hills, LOL. But my Appalachian Irish great-grandpappy apparently did make whiskey and made it well ...



This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-03-08 08:39:14

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 5, 2011 11:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

I also recommend the recent book Harvest of Despair, about the Ukraine under the German occupation - although it's more scholarly & not an easy read, it gives a good detailed picture of life in that period.

And an outstanding film on this very subject is Come and See, a Soviet film from 1985. It captures what you might call the Ukrainian 'folk-memory' of what those years were like better than anything else. (Although for American audiences, it may be tough going, not so much for the massacres as for the arty Tarkovskian style...)

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Mar 6, 2011 7:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

I am very interested in this topic .How did I miss this ? I will definitely check this out . The situation is definitely more complex than is usually presented .
Not only did Stalin, and then Hitler kill the Ukrainians, but the various resistance groups fought each other , as well as the Germans , and then the Soviets ! It was only a couple of YEARS after the war that Stalin was able crush the last Ukrainian resistance groups . And added to this is the sad and ugly, Polish/Ukrainian thing .
A book I found illuminating was "No Simple Victory" , by Norman Davies .
http://www.amazon.com/No-Simple-Victory-Europe-1939-1945/dp/0670018325
Could go on forever on all this . Thanks .

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Mar 5, 2011 7:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

Well, I'm more of a CW era gal. I leave 20th century wars to my son, who then gloats at my lack of knowledge of various obscure battles, weapons, etc.

Btw did you notice that the Ukranian poem manages to rhyme in English? It gives the children's poem idea, but IMO translators shouldn't try to rhyme ... moving, though. I suspect it wasn't really a children's poem per se but a satire by a poet using a children's poem. As a kid I read the classic book The 900 Days (by Harrison Salisbury, on the siege of Leningrad), and still remember how he used a lot of powerful material from poets, artists, etc.

This post was modified by AltheaRose on 2011-03-06 03:19:49

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Mar 6, 2011 11:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: WT & AR and other WW2 buffs / Not GD

I found that strange as well. Notice the word kolkhoz (meaning collective farm) was not translated? I don't know if kids joined hands and sang in a circle (what an odd game to play) with this song, but some of what made the words on the page of this book was real.